Activists call for more climate funds

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Friday, November 8, 2013

MANILA – As Typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan), dubbed as the strongest cyclone on Earth for 2013, pounds a huge part of the Philippines, climate activists in the country called for more climate funds and less greenhouse gas emissions.

In a statement on Thursday, Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, a nationwide alliance of climate activists said, “The Warsaw conference should therefore produce real gains mainly in the form of more climate funds and less greenhouse gas emissions.”

Representatives from different countries to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) will meet in Warsaw, Poland from November 11 to 22 to discuss pending issues regarding the climate fund, and the convention on greenhouse gas emissions.

“Super Typhoon Yolanda, which is reportedly stronger than last year’s super typhoon Pablo, is an example of the stronger typhoons we can expect to see as global warming continues to fuel more extreme weather,” Aksyon Klima national coordinator Voltaire Alferez said in a statement.

The statement also said that Aksyon Klima pushes for “developed countries to fill the Green Climate Fund, which is supposed to provide $100 billion every year by 2020 for adaptation and mitigation efforts, but which remains empty for the fourth climate conference in a row.”

An international risk analytics firm Maplecroft reported in October that the Philippines ranks 9th in the world in terms of vulnerability to climate change, next only to Bangladesh, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Haiti, South Sudan, Nigeria, and Congo.

The Maplecroft report stated that the Philippines is among the countries which are ill prepared to deal with disasters as a result of global warming such as severe floods, cyclones, droughts and sea level rise.

Aksyon Klima also expressed its disappointment with the government’s climate policies.

Alferez said in a statement, “The Philippines is known as a progressive voice in the UN negotiations, and yet we can’t even put our own climate fund together, nor start the shift from coal to renewable energy.”

The Philippines has enacted on 2011 Republic Act 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund (PSF) which corresponds to at least P1 billion from the annual budget worth of funds for climate adaptation activities.

However, Aksyon Klima said, for the past two years, the government had only P500 million in unprogrammed funds, leaving the PSF empty in 2014, unless the government earns savings.

“We challenge the Aquino administration to be more proactive in helping local governments and communities protect themselves from storm surges, heavy rains, floods, and more,” Alferez said.

“Aquino and his cohorts have also repeatedly defended its coal-centric policy while underestimating the country’s capacity and readiness for renewable energy. If the proposed coal-fired power plants are approved, we are signing up for more emissions and more of this kind of extreme weather,” he added. (SFP/Sunnex)

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